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Alonso gives Ferrari their first Italian Grand Prix win since 2006.

FERNANDO ALONSO won last Sunday’s (12 September) Italian Grand Prix at the legendary high-speed Monza circuit, giving the Ferrari Tifosi the win they wanted. The Spaniard won the 53 lap event in a time of 1:16:24.572 (149.651 mph). The reigning World Champion, Jenson Button (McLaren) came home in second place just under three seconds behind Alonso, whose Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa finished third just behind Button. Alonso also set the fastest lap of the race with a lap time of 1:24.139 (154.031 mph). This was the first Hat-Trick (a driver taking: pole position, fastest lap and the win) of the season.

Alonso lost his pole advantage at the start. He got a bad getaway and Button took the lead going into the first chicane – the Variante del Rettifilo. Alonso struck the back wing of Button’s McLaren causing a piece of it to fly off, affecting his aerodynamics for the rest of the race. Mark Webber (Red Bull) lost many places due being too cautious at the first corner. However, championship leader Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) had the worst start of anybody (apart from Kobayashi (Sauber) whose gearbox broke). Hamilton got a flying start and was up into fourth place when he tried to dive up Massa’s inside at the Variante della Roggia. But Massa didn’t realise he was there and the two cars banged wheels. Hamilton’s steering arm was broken as a result, and his race ended in the gravel trap at the next corner (the First Lesmo). This crash was Hamilton’s bad. He should have pulled out and tried to get a run on Massa later in the lap.

Button, Alonso and Massa led the way at the end of lap one and began to pull away to form their own race within a race. Mark Webber overtook Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) into the Rettifilo chicane but the seven-times World Champion came back at him through the Curva Grande. Webber had the inside line however for the Roggia chicane and kept the place.

The cars continued to pound their way around the track without much drama until lap 21. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) was heard screaming over his radio about his engine losing power. This allowed his team-mate Webber to pass him. To add insult to injury, Vettel’s Renault engine soon burst into life again and he was back on the pace.

McLaren decided to bring Button into pit on the end of lap 36. Ferrari then pitted Alonso on the next lap. As the Ferrari driver exited the pits, Button was charging down the front straight. But to the delight of the Tifosi it was Alonso who made it into the first corner first. Sakon Yamamoto (HRT) had to take evasive action so as not to block the pair. I can’t help but wonder if he wasn’t in front of Button when he was gunning it down the straight, the McLaren may just have beaten the Ferrari to the Rettifilo. Anyway, Massa pitted soon afterwards and exited the pits in third, right behind Alonso and Button.

While all this was going on, Nico Hülkenberg (Williams) was making life a challenge for some of the other drivers. When he exited the pits after his stop he came back on track right in front of Robert Kubica’s Renault. The Polish driver had to brake hard and lost enough speed to allow Mark Webber to pass him as they went around the Curva Grande. Later on in the race, Webber became angry with young Hülkenberg for continually cutting the chicanes, but the Stewards didn’t take any action against the Williams driver. Justice was done in my opinion on lap 50, when Webber finally past Hülkenberg.

Learning from what Sauber did with Kobayashi in Valencia, Red Bull didn’t pit Vettel until the very last lap of the race in order to gain track position. This worked out brilliantly for the Austrian team, as the German exited the pits ahead of: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Webber, Hülkenberg and Kubica to gain 12 vital points for finishing fourth.

But it was Alonso who took the full 25 points for the race win. I don’t like seeing a Ferrari win at all, and at Monza is even worse, but Alonso stuck with Button all the way to the pit stops and deserved his win this time.

This was also Alonso’s 24th Grand Prix victory. He is now equal eight on the all-time list of Grand Prix wins with the legendary five-times Champion Juan Manuel Fangio.

We now jet off to Singapore for F1’s third night race. Nick Heidfeld will take part in his first race of the 2010 season, having replaced Pedro de la Rosa at his old team, Sauber.

DRIVERS’ STANDINGS (14/19 GPs)

Pos

Driver

Constructor(s)

Points

Gap From 1st

1

Mark WEBBER (AUS)

Red Bull

187

2

Lewis HAMILTON (ENG)

McLaren

182

5

3

Fernando ALONSO (ESP)

Ferrari

166

21

4

Jenson BUTTON (ENG)

McLaren

165

22

5

Sebastian VETTEL (GER)

Red Bull

163

24

6

Felipe MASSA (BRA)

Ferrari

124

63

7

Nico ROSBERG (GER)

Mercedes

112

75

8

Robert KUBICA (POL)

Renault

108

79

9

Michael SCHUMACHER (GER)

Mercedes

46

141*

10

Adrian SUTIL (GER)

Force India

45

142*

 *Can’t win title.

There are 125 points still available 

CONSTRUCTORS’ STANDINGS (14/19 GPs)

Pos

Constructor

Engine

Points

Gap From 1st

1

RED BULL (AUT)

Renault

350

2

MCLAREN (ENG)

Mercedes

347

3

3

FERRARI (ITA)

Ferrari

290

60

4

MERCEDES (GER)

Mercedes

158

192

5

RENAULT (FRA)

Renault

127

223*

6

FORCE INDIA (IND)

Mercedes

58

292*

7

WILLIAMS (ENG)

Cosworth

47

303*

8

SAUBER (SUI)

Ferrari

27

323*

9

TORO ROSSO (ITA)

Ferrari

10

340*

Yet to Score

LOTUS (MAL), HRT (ESP), VIRGIN (ENG)

Cosworth (All)

0

350*

 *Can’t win title.

There are 215 points still available

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